Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wikipedia.org

Abraham Lincoln said, "I don't like that man. I must get to know him
better!"

When I shared that thought I got responses like, "Why should I try to
know him better when I already don't like him?", "What if I don't like
him?" or "What if I dislike him even more after knowing him better?".

The point where Lincoln and these people collide is a basic one, "There
is some good in all people." or, "Most people are usually good.".

Some time back when I was reading about Web 2.0
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2> ,I came to know this astonishing
fact that the web-based encyclopedia Wikipedia was not only free but was
fueled by information supplied by its users. My constant quest for
knowing more than I did yesterday had frequently led me to Wikipedia and
I have learnt a lot of new things from there. But I did not know that
literally anyone can go on the site and edit an article or create a new
article. I know, we all know, the collaborative power of the internet
(Ref. Linux), but to have uncontrolled, uncensored access to something
that is supposed to be a source of information and knowledge? I was
shocked!

All kinds of questions came to my mind, - deliberate misinformation,
vandalism, uninformed people, prejudiced people posting anything they
like, so on and so forth. But Wikipedia was there, intact and working,
providing sensible information, no graffiti on its pages....as we say in
Hindi "Haath kangan ko aarsi kya" (You don't need the mirror in your
ring to see the bangle on your wrist) or as my friend taught me
recently, "The proof of pudding is in the eating", Wikipedia was, and
is, living proof of its method. Maybe the best argument would be to
quote Descartes, "Cogito Ergo Sum" (Latin: meaning "I think, there for I
am). (You could hardly blame me for that one, since my blog's title is
based on that. :) )

I searched Wikipedia for "Wikipedia" and found that every bad thing
that I feared could happen does happen, but it's all short-lived. In the
long run, Wikipedia keeps going, information keeps flooding in and it
stays one of the best, for me the best, source of authentic information
on the web. Fast, easy, free and fun.

Since the costs of running such a huge web project are supported only by
donation, I am thinking of it as a worthwhile project to donate to.

I think, after all, Lincoln was right in his thinking!

There is too much to say about this wonderful project but my time and
space is limited. If I have aroused your curiosity you can read more
about Wikipedia here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia


If like me, you find it a project worth supporting, here is their
donations page - http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising

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